Find inspiration from Alex Face (Patcharapon Tangruen), a Bangkok graffiti and street artist whose artwork is collected internationally. Read his coach profile and biography to discover the origins of Mardi and how the social messaging character has become a powerful brand.
Alex Face is arguably Thailand’s most recognizable graffiti artist, and not just because he long utilized his own countenance as his trademark tag. His original and expressive work has earned him an international reputation as a master of his craft. His pieces have even sold at auction for as much as $20,968. But if you were to ask Alex, he would tell you that he owes his recent worldwide success not to his artistic prowess, but to the birth of his daughter.
Alex was born Patcharapon Tangruen in Chachoengsao, Thailand. His passion for creating began at an early age and ultimately led him to Bangkok’s King Mongkut Institute of Technology, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in fine arts. With his formal training complete, Alex began looking for an alternative to the monotonous, drawn-out process of traditional academic art. He found that alternative in graffiti.
Unable to control his newfound passion, he took to spray painting his face on empty spaces across Bangkok; and so Alex Face was born. On more than one occasion, his attempts to enliven the city got him into trouble, but they also helped him build a small, though devoted following.
Following the birth of his daughter, Alex began to reevaluate the nature and purpose of his graffiti. No longer would he be content tagging buildings with his own image. Instead, he would create a character based on his newborn child, one that would act as a vehicle for social commentary and political criticism. He Christened this character “Mardi”.
While you might not know Mardi by name, you may well recognize the image of a disenchanted infant clad in a tattered rabbit onesie. According to Alex, the character is intended to represent the fragility of childhood innocence in a world that is increasingly concerned with power and profit margins.
Depictions of Mardi can most commonly be seen in Thailand, yet her message is one that transcends cultures and traditions. Alex hopes this will allow his creation to spark a global change in attitudes towards the poor and less fortunate. “One thing we need,” he says, “is food, not money”.
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